Gray Goes For Postseason Clincher; Can Yanks Go To Bat for Him?

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With a victory, the New York Yankees will clinch their first postseason appearance since 2015. If they lose, an Angels loss to Houston and a Rangers loss to Oakland will accomplish that feat as well.
After last night’s poor outing from Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees starter Sonny Gray will be trying to erase a stinker of his own, getting knocked around by the Orioles in a 6-4 loss last Sunday in Baltimore. A footnote in today’s matchup is the fact that Toronto is one loss from official elimination for a Wild Card slot.

Saturday, September 23, 2017 @ Toronto Blue Jays

Key Stats At-A-Glance

Money Line : Jays +161, Yankees -171
Over/Under : 9
Line Moves : Late dineros coming in on New York
Park Factors : Rogers Centre is regarded as a pitcher’s park.
Weather : 83°, sunny, Wind S 6MPH, 0% chance of rain (roof is open).

Trends

  • Yankees are 1-5 in their last six games at Rogers Centre.
  • The Over/Under has gone under in 18 of the last 25 meetings between these teams at Rogers Centre.
  • After a win, Toronto is 28-43 (a 39.4 winning percentage), third worst in MLB.
  • After a loss, New York is 40-27 (a 59.7 winning percentage), fourth best in MLB.

Joe Biagini vs The Yankees

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Joe Baigini ($5,600) : Biagini has not faced the Yankees as a starter in 2017, and only in relief in 2016, so the batter vs pitcher samples are minute.
Ground balls. Ground balls. Ground balls. The right-handed Biagini relies mostly on his 94MPH four-seam fastball that generates an above league average rate of grounders, as does his 91MPH cutter. When it’s on, Biagini also mixes in a nasty curve with a 12-6 drop.
Biagini has had four starts in September (one at home vs Baltimore, three on the road at Baltimore, Boston and Minnesota) with an 0-2 record allowing 11 earned runs over 19.1 innings. His 5.03 September ERA is right in line with his season mark of 5.33, and his versus lefty-righty, and home-away splits are almost identical.
 
Here’s who to consider in today’s lineup.

  • Aaron Judge ($5,700) : Judge continues to put quality ABs together and is worth the high price. He is 2-3 with an RBI double and an intentional walk against Biagini.
  • Gary Sanchez ($5,300) : The Kracken, while cooling off over his last 7 games (4-21, .190), is having a solid September (21-66, .318 with 4 home runs and 11 RBI), but has not fared well on turf in 2017, going 12-61, .197, although four of those hits have been long balls.
  • Didi Gregorius ($4,000) : Didi has also cooled off a bit over his last 10 games (8-35 .229), but he’s cracked 4 home runs and 11 RBI over that span.
  • Stalin Castro ($3,900) : Starting at second base and hitting seventh today, Castro has shown intermittent flashes of coming out of his overall slide (8-39, .205 in his last 10 games). But assuming Biagini has success keeping the ball down, Castro’s habit of swinging at balls outside the zone could result in yet another 0-fer today.
  • Greg Bird ($3,200) : Bird could be a stealth pick today and the price is right to boot. He sat out yesterday’s game, but is coming off a strong showing against the Twins on Wednesday, going 3-4 with two doubles and 1 RBI.

Sonny Gray vs The Toronto Blue Jays

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Sonny Gray ($11,000) : Since donning pinstripes prior to the deadline trade, Gray has been everything the Yankees could have asked for and more — the only issue has been run support for him.
Gray has had two starts against the Jays in 2017 (both in Rogers Centre) — one with the A’s on July 25th, (taking the loss but striking out nine and not allowing an earned run over six innings), one with the Yankees on August 10th, where he had a ‘quality start’ but was out-pitched by Marco Estrada in a 4-0 Blue Jays victory.
Here’s who Gray needs to be careful with in the Blue Jays’ lineup:

  • Justin Smoak ($4,000) : Smoak is having a breakout season and leads the Jays in batting average, home runs and RBI — but has a career mark of 2-23, .087 against Gray. But take that with a grain of salt, as Ryan Goins had similar numbers against Tanaka yesterday and launched a game-breaking grand slam.
  • Teoscar Hernandez ($2,600) : Watch out for this young man, one of the few standouts in the Jays rebuilding farm system. He took Tanaka deep yesterday, and could be an awesome stealth pick given the price.

 
Upon completion of this series, the Yankees will return home for the remaining seven games of the season. A make-up game on Monday against the Kansas City Royals, a three-game set against Tampa, then closing the regular season out against these Toronto Blue Jays.
 
THE FINE PRINT : The fantasy lineup suggestions are purely speculation and should not be taken as gospel. Anything can and will happen in a baseball game, but this content is designed to provide a starting point for your lineup research. Best of luck, and let’s go Yankees!

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